Wednesday, February 21

British motorists second only to Finland in high fuel prices


British motorists are paying higher petrol prices than anywhere else in Europe except Finland, the RAC claimed as it attacked the Government’s failure to reduce fuel duties.

Prices are at least 20p per litre cheaper in the eurozone’s big four economies of Germany, France, Italy and Spain, while many countries made much bigger cuts to fuel taxes, according to the motoring group.

Drivers were handed a 5p per litre cut to fuel duty by Rishi Sunak when he was chancellor, a £2.4bn giveaway. But it is dwarfed by the action taken by many European countries, including Germany, Italy and Ireland.

The RAC found that the average petrol price in the UK is 186p per litre, higher than all 27 EU countries bar 190p in Finland. It also revealed that the UK ranks 12th out of the 13 countries that cut fuel taxes in response to rocketing oil prices. Only Luxembourg opted for a smaller petrol tax cut but overall fuel prices in the minnow state are already much lower than the UK’s.

The figures will ramp up the pressure on Liz Truss and Mr Sunak to promise more support for drivers feeling the pinch from near record prices at forecourts. There have been concerns that forecourts have failed to pass on the fuel duty cut and falls in wholesale prices to drivers, keeping costs close to record highs.

Fuel costs in the UK are much higher than the 154p per litre in Germany after it cut its petrol taxes by just above 25p.

Petrol prices are cheapest in Hungary at 106p while average 163p in France, 164p in Italy and 166p in Spain. The UK also had the second highest diesel prices, behind only Sweden. Scroll back up to restore default view.

Simon Williams of the RAC, said: Compared to other European countries, it’s pretty much done the least to support drivers through the current period of record high fuel prices.

The result is the UK being one of the most expensive places to fill up and putting it above other countries that have historically charged more for fuel than UK retailers do, including France and the Netherlands.

He said drivers need more help as falls in costs at the pumps are too little and too late given the large drops in wholesale prices enjoyed by retailers in recent months.

Ms Truss, the favourite to become prime minister, said she would keep the cut to fuel duty made by her rival but added further reductions would be looked at in the Budget. She has said she will hold an emergency Budget straight away as households struggle to cope with the cost of living crisis.

Costs at the pump have been sent soaring by the jump in oil prices following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the onslaught of Western sanctions, including embargos on Russian crude by the UK, US and EU.

Oil prices have cooled from this year’s peaks but Brent crude, the UK benchmark, is still above $100 per barrel, up 40pc since the start of the year.